Barcelona delays presidential elections because of pandemic

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona’s presidential elections have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the club said Friday.

Barcelona said the Jan. 24 elections were delayed because of “mobility restrictions decreed by the Catalan government in the current context of (the coronavirus) pandemic.”

“The current epidemiological situation does not make it possible to authorize the movement outside the municipality to members who do not have a polling station in their municipality on Jan. 24, given the high mobility this would entail,” the club said.

Barcelona said it has asked the Catalan government to allow voting by mail, “a request that the government has undertaken to study.”

A new date for the elections has not been set. The three candidates running for the club’s presidency are Joan Laporta, Víctor Font and Toni Freixa.

Barcelona has been led by a caretaker board since former president Josep Bartomeu resigned in October while facing the possibility of being ousted in a no-confidence motion supported by thousands of club members furious after the team’s poor performances and the club’s bad financial situation.

Barcelona lost to Bayern Munich 8-2 in the Champions League quarterfinals in August, and its soaring debt forced the club to practically give away veterans like Luis Suárez to slash its salary burden. Lionel Messi later asked to leave the club but had his request denied.

Barcelona plays Athletic Bilbao on Sunday in the Spanish Super Cup final. The team trails Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid in the Spanish league.

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